SUPER-RARE COUPE TRUCK, 1ST YEAR MADE, STOVEBOLT I6, ONE OF THE LAST ONES AROUND
The first El Camino? A wonderfully wacky take on the "business" coupe? Either way, this 1936 Chevrolet coupe truck is rare, fun, and delightfully unusual. It actually came about as a result of wanting to cater to farmers who needed a vehicle that would get them to church on Sunday but to the market on Monday, and it was offered both as a production vehicle and as a dealer conversion, with this one being number 345 of only 3183 actually built by Chevrolet. And yes, it's pretty darned cool.
The restoration is older, but you can't deny the fun of watching everyone do a double-take when they notice the pickup bed hanging out the trunk opening. You can tell this is a production-line car, not a conversion, because there's no lip around the trunk opening. Bright red was a great choice for a vehicle like this, a traditional pickup truck color that's perfect for the stylish coupe as well. There are signs of use and age, but the car has a wonderful patina that works rather well and we wouldn't change a thing. It has obviously led a decent life, because it wasn't worked to death and the original parts are all in great shape, suggesting that it never worked particularly hard when it was in service. Accessory fender skirts dress it up a bit, as do the jaunty yellow pinstripes, chrome bumpers, single side-mounted spare tire. This one also sports dual taillights for safety, a rather unusual back-up light, and a set of fog lamps up front, so it's well-outfitted for just about anything you'd like to do. You'll even note there's a step on the rear bumper, much like one for a rumble seat, which allows better access to the bed.
The interior is standard 2-passenger business coupe, with a wide bench seat and decent room for two folks on a road trip. The upholstery is faithful to the original and uses a button-tufted pattern that is exactly right for 1936. Rubber mats are a nod to the truck/car's utility and humble origins, as is the simple painted instrument panel. It does offer a set of handsome cream-colored gauges with an auxiliary gauge under the dash and an aftermarket turn signal setup for safety. The big steering wheel makes it easy to maneuver in town and with a cowl vent and vent windows, it stays comfortable inside even on warm days. There is no radio, of course, but there is a heater that is now bypassed, since it was always on and probably isn't needed for duty today.
The engine is the same 216 cubic inch inline-six that Chevy fans have called the "Stovebolt" for decades. It's smooth and torquey and offers performance that's plenty lively out on the open road. It was surely rebuilt at some point and has a great six-cylinder growl that's like the soundtrack from your favorite old movie. Up top there's an original oil bath air cleaner and 1-barrel carburetor, and it wears proper Chevy corporate gray engine enamel for a functional look. The electrical system is still six volts and by 1936, all GM's transmissions offered synchromesh, so the 3-speed manual shifts neatly. It's happy at about 50 MPH, and yes, you can still put that bed to work on weekends and get more attention than anyone else in Home Depot history. There's a new gas tank out back, but the rest of the underside is pretty stock and has some age on it, but that only means you shouldn't be afraid to drive it. Flashy 17-inch Firestone whitewalls on painted artillery wheels are a great choice for the handsome little trucklet.
Rare, fun, and just plain cool, this Chevy has a neat story to tell. And with an estimated 20 or so remaining, you're practically guaranteed to never see another one at a show. Call today!
- AM Radio
- Cloth Interior
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